Note: It was recently brought to our attention, by a kind and attentive reader, that in our original post (way back in 2008) we referred to the photographer as Bill Woods. His actual name was Bill Wood.
Bill Wood was a commercial photographer in Fort Worth, Texas. He worked from 1937 to the early 1970s. Apparently, he was a no-nonsense photographer. He didn't intend to produce weird images, but his subject matter — middle-class America — meant that many of his images do have a surreal quality to them, like something out of a David Lynch movie.
The New York Times notes
: "What is captivating and often funny is the gap between what he evidently meant to do and what he did. It appears that he meant to create reassuring images for his customers, pictures that affirmed their identities, values and world. Today, however, it looks more as if he captured feelings of absurdity, unease, alienation and grief."
His pictures include a bizarre car promotion, promising a year's supply of Kleenex with every purchase of a 1959 Pontiac. Would this have been a tempting deal, even back in 1959? How much Kleenex could a person possibly use?
...a man standing outside a store with an open sign. But what does it sell? There don't seem to be any products inside.
...and the fashionable members of the Lions Club basketball team.
The International Center of Photography, which recently hosted an exhibition of his work, has more of his images
on their site. There's also a book of his photographs